What I learned this weekend

These are interesting times we are living in; I realized that this weekend when my internal dialogue started to sound more like my dad than that of someone my age. In case you have been hiding under a rock or your power has been off (if your power is still off don’t waste precious battery power reading me on a mobile device) due to Irene, you know the storm of the century turned out not to be quite the storm that it was predicted to be though in the end she did wallop areas such as Vermont while leaving metro New York City relatively unharmed.

Prior to Irene’s arrival, New York City took unprecedented measures such as evacuating folks and actually shutting down its extensive public transit system. Which when you consider New York is the largest city in the United States and one of the largest in the world, such unprecedented actions obviously get a great deal of media attention. So when the storm passed through New York leaving the metro area relatively unharmed granted other parts of the state were hit hard along with many parts of New England, the mood took an interesting turn where people seemed almost pissed that Irene did not play out like Katrina did years ago in New Orleans. To look at my twitter feed many in New York seemed almost upset that their weekend plans had been changed and immediately blame was placed on the media for hyping the storm.

I don’t know but it seems that when you are predicting weather, it’s just that… a prediction and sometimes predictions are not accurate. There is also the reality that if things are not hyped often times we don’t heed the details. Yet we live in a fast paced world where we seem to be growing increasingly impatient and in some cases we are downright desensitized to the suffering of others and frankly that scares me. Living in Northern New England which Vermont is part of us and considering Vermont is not on the ocean, I have to say that the level of devastation my tiny neighbor is facing is devastating yet in the 24 hour news cycle’s people have moved on from Irene. If a crisis does not affect a large number of people or is not sexy it’s almost as if it’s not considered newsworthy….

In other things I learned this weekend is that many of us are entirely too invested in the lives of people we don’t know. Last night I decided to catch a little of the MTV Video Music Awards where pop star and singer Beyonce announced via a lovely baby bump that she and her husband of three years rap legend Jay-Z are expecting their first baby. Babies are good and when supposedly happily married people have them, even my grumpy old ass can crack a smile.

Yet judging from my various social media feeds some folks took the announcement as if they are going to be intimately a part of the baby’s life, some even waxing poetically about how Beyoncé and Jay-Z set a lovely image for Black love. I think it’s dangerous when we look up to celebrities as examples for living and loving when in fact they are people who sleep, shit and pay taxes like everyone else.

After all it was only last week when it was announced but then quickly denied that Will Smith and his wife Jada are separating after 13 years of marriage. Before the Smith’s denied the statement there was a collective wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I wonder why do we look at celebrities to be our role models…why aren’t we are own role models?
As a mother I have written about battling the princess machine yet when I see grown women looking at people they don’t know as role models, I think while it’s easy to lay blame at the media for such things the truth is many a grown woman is walking around waiting for Prince or Princess Charming. When the Prince or Princess does not save us, well we live vicariously through others in many cases not even being consciously aware of it. Look, I don’t hate celebrities, there are quite a few I would love to sit down and share a drink with or even have over to my house but I have no vested interest in celebrities as a whole.

Lastly I learned we have a whole new generation of stars coming up with names like Pitbull and Tyler the Creator…I must admit sometimes I think permanently unplugging from the grid is a good thing.

Note: This post is not in any way meant to bash New Yorkers, a recent exchange leads me to believe this post may sound like I am bashing New Yorkers and that is not my intention. I like New Yorkers 🙂

Irene is coming…oh Mother is talking!

What a week for weather here in the US! Earthquakes in places that aren’t typically known for earthquakes, hell even up here in Maine I felt the ground move. Granted I thought maybe my evening glass of vino had caught up with me and was quite relieved when I learned it was an earthquake and not me losing my mind. Especially since the Spousal Unit didn’t feel a thing, but as a California raised boy unless things are falling off shelves earth movements don’t register with him.

No sooner than folks were over the unexpected earthquake now we are being told to prepare for Hurricane Irene, apparently Irene is expected to slam into the east coast, places like New York City are actually making preparations and folks are freaking out. Of course in places like Philly and New York City one doesn’t typically expect to be impacted by hurricanes, so it makes sense folks are freaking out but there is also the irritation that plans are going to be disrupted.

The thing is there is no arguing with weather, we cannot coerce weather into giving us what we want, in fact she gives us what she wants. I have been in Maine nine years now and it’s a lesson I have learned well in my time here. When we first landed in Maine back in 2002, I was the typical impatient big city gal and well in Maine especially in winter, weather happens. Oh, coming from Chicago I understood snow and cold but in big cities life rarely stops due to bad weather so imagine my surprise when I learned that a seemingly not so big storm in Maine could mean being stuck in my house a few extra days. It was maddening.

Yet the longer I am here, I have learned to surrender to the weather, whatever she brings I accept because arguing with reality because it doesn’t fit my desires makes no sense whatsoever. Instead I find that when the weather decides that I need to stay in my house rather than doing whatever it was that I had planned, it often comes at a time when I need to slow down, take a break and be present in the moment both with myself and those closest to me. In recent years I have come to see stormy weather as an unexpected gift to myself and my family. Now I plan ahead when I hear of a storm, sure I go to the store and make sure we have edibles and all that jazz, but I also detour over to the library to grab some books and maybe a film or two.

With all that is going on in the world and on this planet I can only imagine that Mother is not happy with us and that the unexpected and violent weather we are seeing is proof of that. Sure we all love a gorgeous summer day and while Mother gives us those days, she gives us the not so beautiful days as a message too. Yet it is up to us to decide what we will take away from what she gives us.